Should I get a hood for this lens? I hear a lot about hoods, and before ordering this lens I wanted to see if other people generally use a hood with this lens or not. If so what's a good starter hood? There are so many to choose from, I would just want a general starter hood. Any suggestions would be helpful (or, if most people don't think it's needed, I'll skip the extra expense and added bulk). Thanks!
My opinion, yes, if for nothing else but for extra bump protection. I picked up the knock-off Canon ET-60 for my lens for $5 or $6 on Amazon. It is identical to the Canon one which was almost $30 I think. (It is only a piece of plastic, unless you're a total Canon snob. But even the knock-off says Canon on it so you can pretend it cost 5 times more.) I even got the useless little hood for my 18-55mm kit lens which serves no other purpose except minor bump protection and gives something else to grab onto when manual focussing. An added bonus of using hoods on these lenses is you can easily stand them on their ends without rolling away when changing lenses, for that it is worth the couple of dollars they each cost. On the 55-250mm I do think the hood cuts down on flare, I have taken many photos in harsh sunlight on vacation and I had zero issues with lens flare, also no vignetting issues with the ET-60. From my understanding the ET-60 model is designed for the 75-300mm but works with the 55-250mm. It also makes you look cooler because it adds a few inches so you have this giant looking lens sticking out and I feel more important taking pictures that way. Don't get a flower shape you need the round. Also it is reversable so you can install it backwards for storage. If you're interested the model EW-60C fits your 18-55mm kit lens, assuming you have and use the kit lens.
Yes I would suggest a hood, when ever you buy a new lens you should buy a hood to go along with it. I agree with O'Connor, you don't need to spend 30 dollars on a hood when a generic brand will do like he said its just a piece of plastic, it will fit just fine and do the job just like a 30 dollar lens hood would.